Book Talk Tuesday: The Husband’s Secret

The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty is one of the best kinds of books to read but one of the worst to review. It’s hard to tell the story without spoilers and it’s told by several women whose stories intertwine to a harrowing ending.

Cecilia is the uber-organized super-mom of her parish. She has three daughters, a handsome husband, and a thriving Tupperware business. Lately though, John-Paul has been distracted and a bit odd. Add to that her blossoming pre-teen daughter, her Berlin-wall obsessed daughter, and her youngest daughter who’s developed a crush on the new PE teacher at school and Cecilia’s life is BUSY and perfect. With perfection being the goal.

Tess’s husband and her cousin have just confessed that they’ve fallen in love. Tess takes her son and flies home to be with her mother who’s just broken her ankle. No sooner is she home than she runs into her ex-boyfriend Connor.

Rachel’s daughter was killed violently thirty years ago. The case remains unsolved and Rachel is haunted by wonderings of what would Janie’s life be like if she were still alive. She’s also convinced that Connor knows more about Janie’s death than he told the police. He’s now teaching PE at the school where she’s a part-time secretary so avoiding him is difficult.

I loved this book. The changing points of view of the various female characters was a bit jarring, and more than once I had to stop and remember who someone was and put the chapter in context. Even Janie has a few pages to talk to the reader. Those are small quibbles compared to the wonderful story and characters Moriarty gave us.

All the stories weave together and come to what feels like an inevitable and life-shattering climax. The final chapter is a lovely touch and made me ask some of my own, “What if …?” questions.

Woe! It’s Wednesday: Who’s True?

Stud Muffin and I have been discussing truth and whose truth is more true and who gets to teach truth and when does enough untruth creep in that a teacher should be called a heretic, a bad shepherd, or a false teacher.

If we start with the premise that we live in a fallen world and the only thing/person that is perfect is the Trinity and their creation until Adam and Eve decided to snack on the forbidden fruit, then everything has an element of unperfection inherent in it.

No church is perfect.

No family is perfect.

No life is perfect.

No cupcake is perfect.

Maybe somethings are perfect … no. Never mind. Nothing (not even a cupcake) is perfect.

So if no church is perfect, it follows that no speaker/teacher/pastor/person/staff member/elder/deacon/mother/son/barista/candlestick maker/farmer/baker is perfect.

I’ve decided on a sliding scale. Not for truth. Truth is truth. Our perceptions of truth may differ, but they don’t change the trueness of the truth.

I may see God as loving and kind. You may see Him as having an impossible standard and being judgmental.

Both views are true. It depends on our perception as to which view we build our life around.

My sliding scale is for those who identify themselves as handlers of the Word of God.

Those who teach doctrine and theology have the highest threshold. I expect my theologians to handle God’s Word with integrity and to thoroughly research any stand they take, particularly if it is different from most (though not all) evangelical theologians.

Next would be Bible teachers. Bible study leaders, teachers, and writers fall into this category. These people have the gift of teaching and God has given them insight into His Word and they communicate what they’ve learned. I have to be wise enough in God’s Word to recognize if they teach something that’s not purely Scriptural, but if I do hear something a bit off, I don’t throw out everything they say because they do have lots of good teaching. It’s been said that you should read and listen to teachers like you eat a fish. You swallow the meat and spit out the bones. You must have a certain level of knowledge though to recognize the bones.

thIf you’re being fed more bones that meat, then there’s a problem. That’s where we get into false teaching, heresy, bad shepherds and so on. That’s when it’s appropriate to walk away, or point out the problems.

So that’s my sliding scale. Theologians are held to the highest standard. Teachers are next. Then it’s the rest of the voices clambering for attention.

What do you think? Do you give more credence to some teachers over others?

Book Talk Tuesday: The Perfect Match

I’ve been talking a lot about Susan Mallery recently, but it was my love for Kristan Higgins that prompted someone (likely Amazon) so suggest Mallery in the first place.

Because I’ve been reading Higgins for awhile, I’m caught up on her books and must wait with everyone else for her next.

Finally, the follow-up to The Best Man arrived in my mailbox.

It’s The Perfect Match and it’s pretty darn perfect.

I’ve noticed a trend in contemporary women’s romance and it’s more and more books are being set in an idyllic small town and the stories are about various residents. Susan Wiggs has her Lakeshore Chronicles. Debbie Macomber is in Cedar Cove. Susan May Warren lives in Deep Haven. Susan Mallery and Fool’s Gold. I’m sure there are more.

Higgins has now joined the small town series trend with these two books set in the Finger Lakes region of New York state. Her fictional Manningsport has a little over 700 people. The Best Man was Faith’s story and was set at the Blue Heron winery, just outside of town.

The Perfect Match is about Faith’s sister Honor, who made her debut in Faith’s book.

Now Honor is front and center. She wants to be married. She wants a family. But who can she meet in tiny Manningsport? She loves her job at the family winery and she loves her childhood friend and crush Brogan. They’ve been casual “friends with benefits” since college and Honor decides on her thirty-fifth birthday, to take their relationship to the next level and she proposes. He laughs. She regroups and heads home, agreeing with Brogan that it was a crazy idea.

Honor is stunned when six weeks later, Brogan and her best friend announce their engagement. Stunned and heartbroken and betrayed. And desperate to change her life. So when her grandmother offers to fix her up with the nephew of a friend who needs a green card, Honor agrees.

Tom needs to stay in the US. He’s desperate to remain connected to his almost step-son. The law and the family won’t help this kid, Tom is Charlie’s only constancy. So, even though it’s illegal and all kinds of bad things, he agrees to meet this woman.

I had some concerns about how Higgins would handle the illegality of the marriage. Of course, we know Honor and Tom are going to fall in love, but could I still respect them after they indulged in fraud.

The good news is there is no fraud. The bad news is … well, there’s no bad news.

I loved Honor and Tom, I love Higgins’ setting, and her words. She paints real characters who move off the page and into my heart and mind. The sex is off the page, another thing I love about these books and it proves that you don’t need graphic sex to engage your reader with the story and the characters.

Oops, there is one bad thing. Now I’m waiting again for her next book.